performingborders | LIVE 2019 was a programme of events and new commissions curated by Alessandra Cianetti and Xavier de Sousa, that focused on the exploration of artistic practices happening within the UK Live Art sector around notions of cultural, juridical, racial, gendered, class, physical and everyday borders.
The following two videos were made in response to our open call which invited international proposals for digital conversations from Live Art curators, artists, art professionals, researchers, and thinkers who were interested in new perspectives on the relations between notions and lived experiences of borders within Live Art practices and who were also willing to explore the potentialities of digital conversations as a way to re-imagine and share knowledge-production within the Live Art sector.
The selected proposals were by artist Tara Fatehi Irani and the Istanbul Queer Art Collective
In this performance to camera, Istanbul Queer Art Collective members Tuna Erdem and Seda Ergul, cut into pieces the documents they had to submit to the Home Office to extend their ‘leave to remain’ in the UK. Once the documents, with the total weight of three kilos, are hand shredded the artists, clad in absurd costumes with birds for headpieces, proceed to turn them into Moebius strips: a ‘queer’ topological phenomenon where there is no border between the outside and the inside. This process is accompanied by a cheerful live voice-over, reading excerpts with topics that range from the migratory birds that visit the UK, to the rules and regulations governing the privacy of the documents submitted to the Home Office. The resulting mass of strips are subsequently attached to the poster covered wall of the MayDay Rooms, which to the artists represent the kind of archive they are eager to be a part of. All is done in a tongue in cheek manner, in accordance with the collectives’ firm belief in the “queer art of failure”. After all, one possible definition of ‘queer’ is shredding all identity and shedding feathers is one of the main motivations for migration.
Istanbul Queer Art Collective (Tuna Erdem & Seda Ergul) is a performance art collective founded in 2012 in Istanbul. The collective’s work has been shown at various venues around the world such as Framer Framed Amsterdam, Blok Art Space Istanbul, Mamut Art Fair, If Istanbul Independent Film Festival, Istanbul LGBT Pride Exhibition, Zurich Les Belles De Nuit Festival, Queer Future Exhibition, Athens Sound Acts Festival, Zürcher Theatre Spektakel, SGFA 2016, Deep Trash 2017, Bonington Gallery Nottingham and the public program of the 15th Istanbul Biennial. The collective is currently based in London and is comprised of its two founding members Tuna Erdem and Seda Ergul. Erdem and Ergul are firm believers in what Jack Halberstam calls the “queer art of failure”: they stir away from the competitive drive towards perfection and embrace failure in their performances. They also believe both gender and sexuality are performative and engage in what Renate Lorenz calls “radical drag”, which is a kind of drag that is not necessarily based on gender but the transgression of all boundaries. They express this belief by presenting themselves as cis gender female drag queens.
A coming together of seven actions for public space performed in Australia, Hong Kong, Iran, Ukraine, USA, Chile and Mexico. Borderline Dialogue is a container for different understandings and experiences of borders. It embraces the border as a meeting point and a site where different bodies, concepts and perspectives bleed into one another.
These performative actions are the result of a dialogue between Tara Fatehi Irani and her collaborators who have each contributed with their unique approaches towards the notion of borders and its performative potentials. From lived experiences of border crossing to ephemeral markings and abstract interpretations, this work encompasses personal boundaries (Afshin Chizari), the Russia-Ukraine conflict and its consequences in the border city of Mariupol’ (Alisa Oleva), engagements with arbitrary borders in urban space (Daniela Contreras López), private choreographies and temporary borders marked at each step (Bettina Fung), touching and the erasure of borders of our bodies (Laura Ríos), invisible and obsolete borders encountered in everyday life (Emily Elizabeth Sweeney) and the paradox of being simultaneously on two sides of the border of work/play, art/not-art, night/day (Malcolm Whittaker).
This video uses documentations of these actions as material for a new visual venture. Original music composed by Pouya Ehsaei uses recordings of the conversation between the artists in an experiment on blurring the lines between speech, music and background noise.
Tara Fatehi Irani is an artist, writer and performance maker working with mistranslated memories and unattended archives. Her work is primarily concerned with the ephemeral interactions between memories, words, bodies and sites and their inherent mistranslations. Her practice ranges between yearlong daily projects, site-responsive art, performance, dance, audio-visual, installations and writings.
Her most recent project Mishandled Archive is a performance-installation and a series of 365 micro-performances that disperse a family archive in public places around the world.
Presented by performingborders and Foreign Actions Productions in collaboration with Live Art Development Agency (London, UK), Contact Theatre (Manchester, UK), Attenborough Centre for the Creative Arts (Brighton, UK), Artsadmin (London, UK), Deptford Lounge (London, UK), Beyond the Wall/Más Allá del Mur Festival (Nogales, US/Mexico), and the Centre for The Study of Sexual Dissidence (University of Sussex, UK). Supported by the Arts Council England. performingborders.live
Banner image credit:Still taken from MOEBIUS STRIPPING by ISTANBUL QUEER ART COLLECTIVE
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